There is the saying, “You can’t see the forest for the trees.” I thought that was the one of the most stupid things I heard. Reason being is a forest is full of trees. However, what I began to understand about that saying is this; when you see individual trees, you put blinders you.
What we before us today in this passage, is the people have come out of oppression, yet have done so with blinders. They have heard and are hearing of God’s promises, but they don’t want to realize that God’s ways are for their liberty. They see the problem, the difficulty, but refuse to see the big picture of promise.
To see the trees and not the forest they had:
I. Eyes with Blinder (26-29, 31-33)
A. Truth is Truth (26-27)
J. I. Packer: When half the truth becomes the whole truth, the result is no truth.
B. Doubt Has Set In (28-29, 31-33)
1. The Place
2. The People
3. The Purpose
Note: The people and purpose are in respond to Caleb in verse 30
In his book Fuzzy Memories, Jack Handey writes:
There used to be this bully who would demand my lunch money every day. Since I was smaller, I would give it to him. Then I decided to fight back. I started taking karate lessons. But then the karate lesson guy said I had to start paying him five dollars a lesson. So I just went back to paying the bully.
Too many people feel it is easier just to pay the bully than it is to learn how to defeat him.
- In other words, for Christians, it’s easier to give in to compliancy and old ways, rather than to pay the higher cost of Liberty in Christ. Have you started paying the bully again? Today is the day to leave the bully behind and start “paying” the protector of your soul. In other words, give Him your all.
To look beyond the trees they need a:
II. Voice of Hope (30)
A. Listen to Hope
B. Victory Realized (by Caleb)
In Thessalonica, Greece, stands the grand old church of Saint Demetrius. At one period it was taken over by the Moslems. They plastered over the lovely old Christian paintings on the wall. Many years after, the Moslems left and it became a church again. By that time, everyone had forgotten about those old Christian pictures. Then the church caught fire and the fire cracked the plaster. The old Christian pictures were seen again.
- The Israelites where in captivity for 400 plus years. Now they were headed to the promise land and Caleb saw the plaster breaking. He realized the victory ahead. The question is, “Do you realize the victory in your life.”
With a voice of hope, nothing is accomplished with the:
III. Heart of the Discouragement (14:1-4)
A. They Cried
B. They Complained
C. They Blamed God
D. They Pursued a Way Out
It was June 18, 1815, the Battle of Waterloo. The French under the command of Napoleon were fighting the Allies (British, Dutch, and Germans) under the command of Wellington. The people of England depended on a system of semaphore signals to find out how the battle was going. One of these signal stations was on the tower of Winchester Cathedral.
Late in the day it flashed the signal: "W-E-L-L-I-N-G-T-O-N---D-E-F-E-A-T-E-D- -." Just at that moment one of those sudden English fog clouds made it impossible to read the message. The news of defeat quickly spread throughout the city. The whole countryside was sad and gloomy when they heard the news that their country had lost the war. Suddenly the fog lifted, and the remainder of the message could be read. The message had four words, not two. The complete message was: "W-E-L-L-I-N-G-T-O-N- - -DE-F-E-A- T-E-D- - -T-H-E- - -E-N- E-M-Y!" It took only a few minutes for the good news to spread. Sorrow was turned into joy, defeat was turned into victory!
- Don’t live in the fog, because when you do, you get only half the message. Live in the Light and get the full message.